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[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae and “Fuss Marketing”

Posted September. 07, 2007 08:14,   


By suing Lee Myung-bak and four other Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers for slander, Cheong Wa Dae intends to prove that it is not behind any political maneuvering the main opposition party and presidential candidate Lee have been accusing it of. It is unprecedented that the presidential office is suing an opposition party’s presidential candidate 100 days or so before the general election, and it can be seen as interference in it by many.

Chief presidential secretary Moon Jae-in said, “Lee is trying to avoid demands for a moral screening and investigations into his illegal conduct, which is what’s cowardly and anachronistic here.”

Cheong Wa Dae officials, who are supposed to be politically impartial, are making comments toward a presidential candidate of the opposition party. For instance, Cheong Wae Dae Briefing wrote, “If Lee’s suspected wrongdoings prove to be true, he isn’t qualified to become a president, and if he happens to win the presidential election, it will be a disaster of Korea.” Filing a suit against Lee is something that Cheong Wa Dae appears to believe it has every right to do so.

Even though the GNP failed to present hard evidence that Cheong Wa Dae is behind the “Lee bashing,” there is plenty of circumstantial evidence. The National Tax Service reviewed properties owned by Lee and his relatives; the National Information Service reported background information on Lee to Cheong Wa Dae; and a government-affiliated agency created and sent a report negative to Lee’s election pledge of building a nationwide grand canal to Cheong Wa Dae.

Public offices going after an opposition party’s presidential candidate is obviously a sign of political maneuvering. Even though Cheong Wa Dae is not directly involved in this, it is responsible for not doing anything to stop other government offices. Against this backdrop, it is only natural for an opposition party to hold Cheong Wae Dae responsible.

Lawyers with Citizens (LC) said in a statement, “The GNP’s argument should be judged not by filing a lawsuit, but by constituents, or we will sue Cheong Wa Dae officials for breaking election laws.” The remarks show that LC believes that it is Cheong Wae Dae, not the GNP, that should be held accountable for their wrongdoing. Both home and abroad, criticizing public offices and officials are allowed. Slander toward public offices is hardly recognized as illegal.

It seems that Cheong Wa Dae is trying to solve its problem of some presidential officials close to the president involved in corruption scandals by implementing “fuss marketing.” President Roh has broken his almost 40-day-long silence and is being outspoken again. For the sake of keeping political impartiality, prosecutors should start their investigations into issues that are politically motivated after the presidential election.